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An actress who invested in herself and her dreams

Speaker: Gretl Claggett

VIDEO, (3:08) Recorded November 27, 2012


GRETL CLAGETT: My name is Gretl Claggett. I’m originally from Hannibal, Missouri, and I came to New York more than 20 years ago, to the Big Apple, to pursue my dream of being an actress. 

Being mindful of my spending has allowed me to invest in myself and my dreams.

GRETL: I’ve lived many different lifetimes and lifestyles in New York City. But even when I was making the best money I’ve ever made in my life to date, I was still wise about my spending and saving habits.

My parents both were born on the brink of the Great Depression — they grew up in the Great Depression. So their belief systems and what they experienced has deeply affected how I relate to spending and saving money. I remember my father saying to me, “We’re just poor folks. We’re just poor folks.”

Now certainly, there was a part of me that really wanted to rebel against that, because that’s what we do with our parents. There were times where I would be very frustrated, especially as a teenager and a young adult, because I wanted something and everyone else had it.

I have to say that I’m really grateful to my parents for instilling those philosophies and those practices in me in terms of how I practice spending and saving.

I was very clear when I started making real money, so to speak, compared to what I had been doing as an actress. I got myself a financial adviser. We worked together to really look at where I was and where I wanted to go.

I think I was really put to the test back in 2008, 2009 — actually in the last few years —with everything that happened in the market.

That was probably the scariest time for me. Should I stay in, or, you know, take what I have and hide it under my mattress? The fact that my parents had instilled in me an attitude of always living beneath my means, of saving for a rainy day, of following my heart and yet having a backup plan. There were all these mantras that were within me and so it allowed me to know that there are ebbs and flows and to start to save, and to be mindful of how I was spending my money. I feel like that money I really invested in myself and in my dreams.


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